This past week hasn’t been a very good week in a bit of a different way than we’ve seen lately. Some loose ends were tied, badly. Some positions were recanted, and hope for good change, well… It just isn’t there yet. Here are some of the most important readings of the past week.
Baltimore Chief Batts made an apology to the Fraternal Order of Police
“I’m apologizing that we didn’t have a chance to do enough training,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts when asked about his message to the Fraternal Order of Police on Tuesday. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts apologized to the city’s officers Tuesday night, saying he put them in harm’s way during the Freddie Gray unrest last month.
Read the rest of this article: Batts apologizes to Baltimore officers at union meeting – Baltimore Sun
BALTIMORE (AP) — Antoinette Perrine has barricaded her front door since her brother was killed three weeks ago on a basketball court near her home in the Harlem Park neighborhood of West Baltimore. She already has iron bars outside her windows and added metal slabs on the inside to deflect the gunfire.
“I’m afraid to go outside,” said Perrine, 47. “It’s so bad, people are afraid to let their kids outside. People wake up with shots through their windows. Police used to sit on every corner, on the top of the block. These days? They’re nowhere.”
Perrine’s brother is one of 36 people killed in Baltimore so far this month, already the highest homicide count for May since 1999. But while homicides are spiking, arrests have plunged more than 50 percent compared to last year.
Read the rest of this article on ‘Now There’s No Police’: Baltimore Residents Fearful As Murders Spike
Minneapolis May become the next Baltimore
“Minneapolis may soon see “uprisings” like the ones that ripped through Ferguson and Baltimore if local authorities don’t overhaul the way communities of color are policed in the city, an activist and lawyer from the Black Lives Matter movement told Al Jazeera on Thursday.
The warning came hours after the ACLU released a new report showing that black Minneapolis residents are nearly nine times more likely than white people in the city to be arrested for low-level crimes such as small-scale theft and reckless driving.
“I hope things don’t rise to the level of uprisings in Ferguson and Baltimore. But we’re not far from that,” said Nekima Levy-Pounds, a law professor who advises the local Black Lives Matter movement and president of the Minneapolis NAACP.”
Read the rest of this article on Minneapolis May Become the Next Baltimore | Al Jazeera America
Officials with the city of Barstow, California insisted this week that officers had acted properly when they used force to arrest a pregnant woman who refused to show them her identification, even though the charges were later dismissed. […]
The officer says he will give Cooks two minutes to verify his right to ask for her identification. But less than 20 seconds later, the officer and a colleague are performing a painful wristlock takedown on Cooks. The pregnant woman screams as she is forced belly first into the ground.
“Why are you resisting?” the officer demands.
“Please! I’m pregnant!” Cooks exclaims. “Please, stop this!”
ACLU SoCal staff attorney Adrienna Wong pointed out that Cooks had a right to refuse to show her ID.
“It would be a wrongful arrest, but it would be an arrest,” she noted. “Even if an officer is conducting an investigation, in California, unlike some other states, he can’t just require a person to provide ID for no reason.”
Read the rest of this article on Body cam video catches Barstow cops slamming black pregnant woman to ground, letting white woman go free
More information from ACLU Southern California: https://www.aclusocal.org/barstow-stop-and-id/
Photo shows rifle-toting Chicago cops posing with a black drug suspect like a hunting trophy
A judge ruled against Chicago police and ordered them to release a photo that shows two rifle-toting officers kneeling over a black suspect wearing deer antlers.
The Polaroid picture, believed to be taken between 1999 and 2003, was turned over to the city by federal prosecutors after Jerome Finnigan, one of the officers in the photo, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for organizing robberies and home invasions with other cops.
The dissenters said McDermott should only be suspended, but the majority said treating the unidentified black suspect as “a hunted animal is a disgrace and shocks the conscience.”
Read the rest of this article on Photo shows rifle-toting Chicago cops posing with a black drug suspect like a hunting trophy
I usually stay away from other blogs, including Alternet, for materials like these, but this report is so well-referenced, very well-thought out and written, it deserves a read.
The FBI’s Response To Another Killer Cop Set Free? More Surveillance of Protestors
On Thursday, FBI Deputy Director Mark Giuliano gave a press conference about how his agency was preparing for the soon-to-be announced verdict for Michael Brelo, the white Cleveland Police Officer charged with two counts of voluntary homicide for shooting 49 bullets at two unarmed black victims, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, at least two of which were fatal shots for each victim and many of which were fired as he stood on the hood of their car.
However, Giuliano mentioned nothing about the details of this case or how the FBI may be mandated to investigate the state agents involved depending on the outcome. Instead, he mentioned other activities in which the FBI was engaged in the lead up to the Brelo verdict that are far outside of the FBI’s mandates, and possibly in violation of those mandates, against U.S. citizens engaged in First Amendment activity.
The FBI is charged with investigating Color of Law violations to “prevent abuse of authority” by “law enforcement officers and other officials like judges.” In November of last year, the Department of Justice announced that it had found the Cleveland Police Department guilty of “a pattern or practice of unreasonable and unnecessary use of force.” Considering this, one would think the FBI should have been preparing an investigation into Color of Law violations by Officer Brelo and Judge John O’Donnell, who yesterday announced his decision that Officer Brelo was guilty of no crime, before that verdict was announced. After all, police departments cannot establish patterns or practices of unreasonable and unnecessary use of force without the entire criminal justice system being complicit in such behavior.
If the FBI had any such plan, Guiliano didn’t mention it at his press conference.
Read the rest of this article on The FBI’s Response To Another Killer Cop Set Free? More Surveillance of Protestors | Alternet
Missing Minutes From Security Video Raises Questions | NBC Chicago
Chicago police officers deleted footage from a security camera at a Burger King restaurant located fewer than 100 yards from where 17-year old Laquan McDonald was shot and killed, according to a Chicago-area district manager for the food chain.
McDonald was shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer on the night of October 20, 2014. Nine of the shots struck McDonald in the back, according to the Medical Examiners report.
Source: NBC Chicago
How Did a 26-Year-Old Iraq War Veteran Die Serving a 2-Day Jail Sentence?
Sgt. James Brown left his family in 2012 to report to El Paso County Detention Facility in Texas for a two-day stay on a DWI. So how did he end up dead?
In 2012, Brown was arrested in El Paso, Texas, where he was living with his family while on active duty, and sentenced to two days in the El Paso County Detention Facility for a DWI.
“He said, ‘They’re trying to make me stay seven days instead of two days, so I just want to pay the court fine and get out of here,'” Dinette Robinson-Scott said. Brown asked his mother if she would pay the fine to get him released. She paid the money the next day and learned that overnight, her son had died.
Read the rest of this article on How Did a 26-Year-Old Iraq War Veteran Die Serving a 2-Day Jail Sentence? – The Root
Mayor: Six Months is “An Unacceptably Long Period of Time” to Investigate a Police Shooting
Nearly six months later, Reid’s family and his community are still waiting for answers. It’s not clear exactly where the investigation stands. Last weekend, a report in the New Jersey Star-Ledger suggested the case had been passed from the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office. A spokesman for the New Jersey AG told Mother Jones that the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office is still the lead agency in the investigation and declined further comment. A message sent to the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office wasn’t answered.
Continue reading on Mother Jones
Boulder cops declare ‘rock stacking’ a jailable offense to stop local artist who spent 7 years creating sculptures
Michael Grab, a Boulder artist who goes by the name Gravity Glue, said that police threatened to ticket or jail him for creating stacked river rock sculptures that the community has been enjoying for years.
“For the past 7 years i have been creating this art in and around Boulder, Colorado, USA. nearly every day!” he wrote. “[J]ust this weekend, one police officer has decided that balancing rocks in Boulder, Colorado is now illegal, obscurely referencing two city codes [5-4-8 and 5-4-2] about ‘destruction of public property’ in relation to rocks.”
Read the rest of this article on Boulder cops declare ‘rock stacking’ a jailable offense to stop local artist who spent 7 years creating sculptures
Woman Calls Non-Emergency Hotline for Suicidal Boyfriend, Cops Show Up with AR-15s, Kill Him
Way’s live-in girlfriend, Kaitlyn Christine Lyons, said she’d caught Justin drinking a bottle of vodka, which she took away from him to pour out. She said he was drunk, lying in their bed with a large knife, saying he would hurt himself with it. She called a non-emergency number in an attempt to get her boyfriend to a local St. Augustine, Florida, hospital for help—and told them she did not feel threatened.
Read the rest of this article on Woman Calls Non-Emergency Hotline for Suicidal Boyfriend, Cops Show Up with AR-15s, Kill Him | The Free Thought Project